i understand demeter's pain, of making the world cold and frigid as she felt with the loss of her daughter; i understood her rage and i understood her aching— but i still had to show up, still had to drag myself to life even when i felt as if death would be a kinder alternative; one day i found i had been stitched back together with the aid of the sun, the moon, seas, crow songs, feathers of every and claws bird and animal i have ever loved, trees, mountains, hills, valleys, and so many flowers; i think the flowers were from demeter and maybe some were from persephone to remind me that life continues after death— so here i am still standing even when days feel heavier than the weight on the shoulders of atlas.
Linda M. Crate
3 Questions for Linda
What was your process for creating this piece?
Myths have always fascinated me. Ever since I was a young girl, I loved learning about different mythologies and different cultures. It intrigued me that despite the differences in how the gods were viewed or how creation happened, there was also some similarities across all these different belief systems and lore. I wanted to take mythology and apply it to my personal life to make a new creature entirely.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
I favor free-verse because there is no rhyme scheme or pattern to adhere to, I like to script words as they seem and flow right together. I like the freedom of being able to shape the poem, however, I want to suit my vision and the poem.
What is the significance of this work to you?
This work means a lot to me because it shows my growth in my understanding of Demeter. When I was younger and even in recent years I thought of Demeter as this helicopter mother who really gave her daughter any freedom. But I have since realized she was vilified by men as some goddesses and women are. Her story of never giving up on finding her daughter gave the mothers in the society and peoples who worshipped her hope. I realized that if I had faced brutality the way that Demeter had — having her daughter stolen and not having any idea where she was; or if I had shapeshifted into a mare to prevent someone from taking advances against me and that wasn't a deterrent that I may not think much of marriage or the idea of losing my child, either. What I once viewed as overdramatic became a realistic expression of grief and anger in losing her child against her will, and it seemed fitting that a mother that miscarried could relate to a mother who lost her daughter (even if it's for part of the year).
Linda M. Crate's poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has eight published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), the samurai (Yellow Arrowing Publishing, October 2020), and Follow the Black Raven (Alien Buddha Publishing, July 2021) and two micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018) and moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).